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AVIAN INFLUENZA (HPAI) UPDATES

AVIAN INFLUENZA (HPAI) UPDATES

Monday, June 6, 2022 

With the very welcome warmer weather, we are also thrilled to report that the Avian Influenza outbreak in Manitoba is improving. 

Since the beginning of the outbreak in early April, Wildlife Haven has taken a pro-active approach to its response to the HPAI situation, aiming to protect WH patients, ambassadors and doing our part in minimizing the impact of spread in the general Manitoba Wildlife population. 

As we are now learning more about the trends and behaviour of the virus and outbreak, and seeing a slow down in the number of calls and admissions of suspect infected cases at our Centre, Wildlife Haven is moving forward with a first phase of relaxed measures. We’ve had several discussions with biologists, wildlife veterinarians and wildlife rehabbers from across Canada and northern States, along with our local regulators. 

Here’s how we are adapting our operations and protocols:

  • Infant ducklings, goslings, shorebirds and waterfowls can now be admitted to the Wildlife Hospital. These patients will be under quarantine protocol during their entire stay at Wildlife Haven. 
  • Pelicans, swans and cranes can be admitted to the Wildlife Haven hospital on a case by case basis. These patients will be under quarantine protocol during their entire stay at Wildlife Haven.
  • Quarantine period for native songbirds is removed.
  • Quarantine period for raptors (including owls) is reduced to 11 days.
  • Wildlife Haven Ambassadors are out of isolation and are enjoying safe walks outside with their friendly staff and volunteer handlers! 
  • At this time, we must still restrict rehabilitation of adult geese, adult ducks, adult shorebirds, corvids, game birds, fox kits and non-native passerine.

As always, we continue extensive training with our staff team on the signs and symptoms of HPAI and the important biosecurity measures to prevent any spread. We look forward to continue to work with the province and our community as we slowly and safely get back to a more normal level of operation.

We are still learning about this virus, and will undoubtedly have more changes coming in the next weeks and months. Thank you all of the patience and understanding as we adapt and adjust to these challenges. 

The HPAI crisis has been difficult for our organization and team to navigate. The support of our community has been so heart warming!! From volunteers to donors to staff, we are SO grateful to have you all here to uplift us and help the animals. Thank you!

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Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Important Update: Bird Feeders & Bird Baths

We have learned much about Avian Influenza over the last few weeks. While it is still present in the province of Manitoba, we have re-assessed the risk to songbirds and feeder birds as being low.

The good news: with regular, bi-weekly cleaning and proper maintenance, bird feeders can be used once again! This includes hummingbird feeders and bird baths. If you have chickens or game birds, please refrain from putting feeders back up as poultry are very susceptible to Avian Influenza.


Tips on Feeder Care:
  • We recommend cleaning your feeders once per week with a diluted bleach solution (1 part bleach, 9 parts water)  and allowing time to completely dry before use. When cleaning your bird feeders, be sure to wear gloves and a mask!
  • Use bird feeders which are made of either metal or plastic. Wood feeders are not recommended as proper disinfection of this material is not possible. 
  • Removing bird feeders if you see many corvids (i.e. ravens, crows, magpies and blue jays) congregating around your feeder area.

Remember that Avian Influenza is still present in Manitoba. Please call the Wildlife Haven Hotline (204-878-3740) before bringing a wildlife patient to our campus. We will have additional instructions and precautions to keep you and other Wildlife Haven animals safe. Please do not attempt to care for sick, injured or orphaned wildlife at your home and do not handle deceased wild birds without guidance from Wildlife Enforcement Officers. For more information or to report deceased waterfowl or raptors, please contact the provincial TIP line at 1-800-782-0076.
 

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Tuesday, April 19, 2022

A Wildlife Haven patient has been identified as one of the province’s first Avian Influenza cases. A sick Bald Eagle came into our care in Apr 10th, 2022. Following this information, and the fact that Manitoba is now in a state of declared HPAI outbreak, Wildlife Haven must adapt its operations.

Our primary focus is to protect Wildlife Haven team members, patients and animal ambassadors, and to be transparent and honest with our community. We must also work to prevent further spread within the wildlife population, protecting ALL Manitoba birds from further harm from this outbreak.

To do so, we have made the difficult decision to limit the species that will be receiving rehabilitative care at the Wildlife Haven Hospital this Spring during the active HPAI outbreak in Manitoba. Species who have proven to be most susceptible to carry and transmit the virus, with or without symptoms, will not be admitted to our hospital. These include : Waterfowl, Gamebirds, Shorebirds and Corvids. All other avian species will be subject a strict 30-day quarantine, rigorous medical examinations by our veterinarian and testing as required.

Two important factors have lead to this decision:

1 - During a period of Provincial Avian Influenza Outbreak Status (lasting 90 days following the last confirmed case), guidance from the Canadian Wildlife Services state that any bird admitted to a rehabilitation centre must complete a 30-day quarantine, without sharing air or have any contact with other patients not in its cohort or any contact with wild birds. This causes significant strain on Wildlife Haven’s campus facilities as we have limited indoor rooms, space and limited ability to adapting outdoor enclosures to ensure zero interaction with even the smallest wild songbird. We remain committed to abiding to the Federal Guidance to Wildlife Rehabilitation Facilities by the Canadian Wildlife Services.

2 - Avian Influenza has been shown to be asymptomatic in many common waterfowl species, especially ducks while still shedding and spreading the virus.  

We will continue to offer compassionate euthanasia of “non-admit” species to protect others and prevent ongoing spread of this deadly disease. It has been shown that there is a 90% mortality rate in infected and symptomatic wild birds. 

This decision was not taken lightly, and does not come easy to the Wildlife Haven team. We have been in consultation with rehabilitation centres across North America who have been facing similar outbreaks throughout the Spring migration, and this is the best plan of action to keep current patients and ambassadors safe, along with the general wildlife population. We are also working closely with our provincial and federal regulators.

Please remember, Avian Influenza is a zoonotic disease. While bird to human transmission has not been documented to date in North America during this year’s outbreak, it remains a risk. Please do not feed wild birds during this outbreak, never care for sick, injured or orphaned wild birds at your home and don’t handle deceased wild birds without proper PPE and guidance from Wildlife Enforcement Officers. For more information and guidance please contact the provincial TIP line at 1-800-782-0076.

We look forward to brighter days when we can open our doors to all sick, injured and orphaned Native Manitoba Wildlife to Rescue, Rehabilitate and Release them all back into nature, strong, wild and free.

For more information, please visit: Avian Influenza Fequently Asked Questions on Wildlife Haven's website.

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Monday, April 18, 2022
Important information - Removing bird feeders and bird baths
Due to recent Avian Influenza developments, we are now recommending that bird baths and bird feeders be taken down to help mitigate the risk of spreading this contagious virus.
Why? Avian influenza can spread via secretions from infected birds onto feeding areas and water sources, and poses a severe threat to avian populations. Studies have shown that avian influenza can survive in aquatic environments, such as cold freshwater in your bird baths for multiple weeks. If HPAI infected birds come into contact with your bird baths, this will increase the likelihood of infecting others.
If secretions from infected birds are left on feeding areas, such as bird feeders, this will also increase the likelihood of infecting others. Studies have shown that the virus can persist on various surfaces, if not appropriately disinfected.
Removing bird baths and bird feeders, will help mitigate the risk of spreading this highly contagious virus, by discouraging them from congregating in these areas.
The birds will be ok without the bird feeders, but if you want to help them we would suggest planting “bird-friendly” native plants in your yard this Spring, such as milkweed, sunflowers, virginia creeper, etc. This reduces the ability for disease spread within feeders, while still providing a natural food source!
Wildlife Haven will continue to offer as much information as possible during these unprecedented times. Thank you for your support in helping protect wildlife!

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Friday, April 14th, 2022 

From the Province of Manitoba Website: “Currently in Manitoba, two suspect, but not confirmed cases of HPAI have been identified in wild birds in Manitoba. The first suspect was identified in a group of lesser snow geese that experienced mortalities near Waskada. The second suspect was a bald eagle in the Dauphin area that was observed with neurologic signs and humanely euthanized. Samples submitted to Manitoba Agriculture’s Veterinary Diagnostic Services were positive for Avian Influenza (AI) on initial screening tests. Samples have been submitted to the National Centre for Foreign Animal Disease in Winnipeg for confirmatory testing.” https://www.gov.mb.ca/.../update-avian-influenza-in-north...
The mentioned Bald Eagle was a patient at the Wildlife Haven Rehabilitation Centre on April 10th, 2022. Thanks to well trained and vigilant staff, the Wildlife Haven Veterinary Hospital was instrumental as a front line surveillance partner to the province of Manitoba in detecting the first live animal and first raptor affected by Avian Influenza in the province.
Thanks to the fast acting and well prepared processes and protocols of our organization, risk and spread were mitigated. We quickly recognized the signs of Avian Influenza and were able to compassionately euthanize this suffering Bald Eagle and submit him for testing with our partners at the provincial Veterinary Lab.
Wildlife Haven will continue its work as a front line surveillance and protection partner with the province of Manitoba during this HPAI outbreak.

 

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Monday, April 4, 2022

IMPORTANT:

  • Please call the Wildlife Haven Hotline (204-878-3740) before bringing a wildlife patient to our campus. We will have additional instructions and precautions to keep you and other Wildlife Haven animals safe.
  • Please report deceased waterfowl or raptor sightings to the Manitoba tip line: 1-800-782-0076

Wildlife Haven is facing yet another virus-related crisis. We are preparing for an avian influenza outbreak (Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza - HPAI). 

The situation is rapidly evolving. This virus is posing a very real and very severe risk to wild birds. 

Throughout the last 2 weeks, the Wildlife Haven team has been working endlessly as we are facing the risk of an outbreak. From implementing robust biosecurity procedures campus wide, quarantining the resident ambassadors, and purchasing specialized medical equipment - we are doing everything we possibly can to mitigate the risk of losing our patients and resident ambassadors to this HPAI virus. Everyone is on high-alert and quite concerned.

There is no cure for Avian Influenza. If these animals don’t receive the protection they need in time, they will not survive this virus. 

We are told there is a 90% mortality rate. Prevention against this deadly virus is key.

Avian influenza outbreaks have been declared in Ontario, North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota. With Spring migration and the contagious nature of this virus, infection of Manitoba wildlife is inevitable.

REMINDER: Cleanliness of your bird feeders and bird baths is extremely important! 
Avian influenza can spread via secretions from infected birds onto feeding areas and water sources, and poses a severe threat to avian populations.
Ways you can help:
- We recommend cleaning your feeders a minimum of once a month using a diluted bleach solution. Please allow them to dry completely before use. When cleaning your bird feeders, make sure you are wearing gloves and a mask.
- Use bird feeders which are made of either metal or plastic. Wood feeders are not recommended, as proper disinfection of this material is not possible.
- Removing bird feeders if you see many birds congregating in the same area ( especially corvids - Example: ravens, crows, magpies and blue jays)
- Removing bird feeders during periods of high humidity and rainfall to inhibit bacterial growth within the feed.
- Planting “bird-friendly” native plants in your yard, such as milkweed, sunflowers, virginia creeper, etc. This reduces the ability for disease spread within feeders, while still providing a food source!
If any abnormal signs are occurring at your bird feeders (such as finding deceased birds near feeders), give us a call at 204-878-3740 and we can assist you in how to help our Manitoba wildlife.
 

To help, please donate here.

 

Monday, March 28, 2022 

Important announcement - The Wildlife Haven team is aware of the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza risk in our area this Spring.
We are monitoring the confirmed cases in North Dakota and Ontario and remaining vigilant as an important surveillance partner in the Province of Manitoba.
We’re working on keeping wildlife animal patients, WH ambassadors, and humans safe by continually adjusting our biosecurity protocols.
Thank you for your patience at this time.
More information about restrictions and protocol changes will be posted as changes are made.
How can you help?
- Please call the Wildlife Haven Hotline (204-878-3740) before bringing a Wildlife Patient to our campus - we may have additional instructions and precaution to keep you and other Wildlife Haven animals safe.
  • Please report deceased waterfowl or raptor sightings to the Manitoba tip line: 1-800-782-0076
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